NGOCC attacks expensive by-elections

Monday December 10, 2012

NON Governmental Organisation (NGO) mother body has lashed out at the expensive by-elections being promoted by politicians in order to have total control of power both in parliament and outside.

Non Governmental Organisation Coordinating Committee (NGOCC) chairperson Beatrice Grillo said that Zambia could no longer continue to hold costly by-elections which were caused because of greed.

Ms. Grillo said that Zambians went through a strenuous election period last year and it was therefore unfortunate that some politicians should promote by-elections at the expense of development.

Commenting on the revelations that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) spent over K8 billion from January to July 2012 in by-elections, Ms. Grillo said that political leaders should realise that the nation could not afford to continue losing money in that manner.

She said that it was unfortunate that over K8 billion was spent on by-elections when the health sector badly needed the money to service people like those in hospices in Lusaka’s Kalingalinga Township.

“We went through a strenuous and extensive Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government elections last year. And it is in order to uphold the tenets and principals of democracy. That we support. However, we shall not subscribe to

by-elections which come as a result of opposition political members wanting to change the party. It is costly and it also weakens the opposition voice in Parliament,” she said.

Ms. Grillo said that the continued crossing over by opposition Members of Parliament seeking jobs in the ruling party was reducing the strength their in parliament.

She said for democracy to thrive and contribute positively to the growth of a country, a strong opposition should be in place to offer checks and balances to those in power.

Ms. Grillo said that even the Patriotic Front (PF) leadership should feel happy to have a strong opposition for them to govern according to the will of the people rather than having a weak opposition with disjointed voices.

She said that it was outrageous to see opposition MPs join the ruling party, adding that for the PF to perform accordingly, they (leaders) needed someone from outside reminding them about what they were doing.

Deputy Minister in the office of the Vice president Harry Kalaba told Parliament that a total of K241 million was spent on local presidential tours from January to July.

He also said that government did not spend any money on the Vice president’s campaign team during by-elections.

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